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How to Remove Skunk Odor

Carpet Cleaning, Rug Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning
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Possibly one of the worst odors in the world, a skunk's spray is actually a liquid that is released from under the tail as a defense against would-be predators. Anytime a skunk thinks it may be attacked or even slightly bothered by another animal, person, or vehicle, it will release the odorous spray that sticks to whatever it touches. The unpleasant smell can linger for weeks or months and gives new meaning to the phrase "sickeningly sweet." To remove skunk odor from carpet, furniture, or clothing, it's necessary to neutralize it.

A skunk odor can be most easily removed if treated within a few hours of the spray. The odor neutralizing formula below will remove skunk odor from a wide range of surfaces.

  • carpets and rugs
  • upholstered furniture and vehicle upholstery
  • clothing, towels, sheets, and other fabric
  • skin and hair
  • pet fur
  • tires

A mixture of one quart hydrogen peroxide, one quarter cup baking soda, and a teaspoon of dish liquid should be combined in a bowl or other container. Using a clean cloth dipped in the cleaning solution, the surface should be wet thoroughly (taking care not to over wet carpets or upholstery, however) and scrubbed gently as appropriate. When washing yourself or a pet, it's important to avoid getting this solution in eyes, ears, or any mucous membranes.

For carpets and upholstery, once the odor neutralizer has been applied, clean water should be used to rinse the area. A dry cloth can then be pressed against the surface to absorb excess water, or a carpet cleaning machine can be used to extract the water. The more water that is removed, the more quickly the area will dry.

On tires, porches, decks, or other water-safe surfaces, a water hose can be used for rinsing the solution away.

Fabrics like clothing and towels can be laundered as usual--using the hottest water the is safe for the fabric--with the odor neutralizing formula added to the wash water.

Protecting Colors

Hydrogen peroxide has mild bleaching properties that may fade or completely remove color from carpet, furniture, or clothing. Peroxide can also lighten hair. Before using the recipe given above to remove skunk odor, test the cleaner on a small, hidden area of the object you need to clean. Rinsing thoroughly will help lessen any fading, but it's important to consider the results carefully before using the solution on any surface. Vinegar may be substituted for peroxide, though it does not seem to neutralize skunk odor as effectively.

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